Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN*. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN’. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be.

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Libertarian paternalism

Retrieved 4 July Those who find convincing the explanations of bad choices put forward by Thaler and Sunstein are free to make arrangements with others that will alleviate these problems. They extend their view further.

Laternalism maintain that it is sometimes justifiable to interfere with someone’s freedom, if doing so will promote his own good. Those who are making an informed deliberate choice to put aside zero percent of their income in tax deferred savings still have this option, but those who were not saving simply out of inertia or due to procrastination are helped by higher default contribution rates.

Paternalis who wish to preserve liberty must take people’s actions as they find them, not substitute for them “better” or more “rational” actions, based on an assessment of what people “really” want.

People often make mistakes in logic.

Skepticism and Freedom University of Chicago Press, The American Economic Review Further, people’s ultimate goals are often not the concrete objects that they seek to obtain: It is all right to render it difficult for people to make certain choices, as long as doing so does not impose substantial costs on them.


Whether or not they have ever studied economics, many people seem at least implicitly committed to the pafernalism of homo economicusor economic man — the notion that each of us thinks and chooses unfailingly well, and thus fits within the textbook picture of human beings offered by economists.

The authors might answer that decisions on whether to restrict one’s future choices are themselves less than fully rational and informed; but to say this is merely paternzlism reiterate their original argument, and the libertarian rejoinder to it is unchanged. What they in tnaler are saying is that unless someone meets the textbook criteria for rationality and information, he is not really choosing in the full sense.

Loyalty program Safety culture. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications sunstsin to watch over their fate.

If people want to smoke cigarettes, to eat a lot of candy, to choose an unsuitable health care plan, or to fail to save for retirement, libertarian paternalists will not force them to do otherwise — or even make things hard for them… A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.

Even if one grants as of course they would not that their scheme threatens liberty, it has not been shown that their view of choice is wrong. Here, I have not imposed a substantial cost on you, but I have nevertheless used force against you. Home Mises Library Libertarian Paternalism.

Archived from the original on 4 July Libertarians deny that such interference is acceptable. There is a problem here that Thaler and Sunstein fail to note.


For a sense of Thaler’s views on government interventions in the marketplace, we have posted below David Gordon’s review of one of Thaler’s more well-known books. To devise a libertarian paternalism seems no more promising an endeavor than to construct a square circle.

Libertarian paternalism – Wikipedia

To return to the transplant case, if the state says to people that their organs will be taken from thaoer unless they explicitly direct otherwise, it is claiming to set forward the terms under which people can retain control of their own bodies. They offer as a case of irrationality purchasing an extended warranty for household appliances.

Thaler and Sunstein have set themselves a seemingly impossible task. The authors do not point out that this is not a case of paternalism, libertarian or otherwise, since prospective donors are nudged libertariah what is taken to be the general good, rather than their own. Setting the default in order to exploit the default effect is a typical example of a soft paternalist policy.

But the real issue is not the inevitable progression of the slippery slope but the rational basis for the restriction in the first place. It is libertarian in the sense that it aims to ensure that “people should be free to opt out of specified arrangements if they choose to do so” p.

Retrieved from ” https: Grynbaum November 7, Smokers, putting aside the issue of secondary smoke, do not violate others’ rights: